A tense hush descended on Vaysey Pastures as Brenda Hilton drove her black 4 x 4 off the yard with a wave and cheery farewell of “Bye, bye my darlings. I’ll be back at four – do be good.”
The Hilton twins’ weekend schedule was hectic with riding slotted in between extra maths coaching and mini-rugby. Mrs. Hilton covered thousands of miles each year taking Warwick and his twin brother Milton from home in Weston Subuteo to a round of engagements in a perpetual quest for improvement and a competitive edge impressive in eight year olds.
Clutching their juice boxes and packed lunches, the twins sauntered silently over to the stables of their veteran ponies, Reggie and Ronnie. They looked forward to an afternoon of grooming and practising gymkhana games in preparation for camp.
The twins were not universally admired on the yard. Whilst they were around, gates tended to be left open and electric fencing switched off with resultant chaos.
More worryingly, when Warwick and Milton were there, more that the average number of accidents seemed to take place.
Despite the twins usually being at the centre of activity amongst the younger element at Vaysey Pastures, their leadership skills did not always impress everyone.
The parents of little Penny Fforbes-Lane, for example, were none too pleased when Warwick and Milton persuaded those attending camp to protest against the ban on hunting by substituting Penny for the fox.
Fortunately, after a spirited, two-mile chase, Penny had the common sense to go to ground in a septic tank near Lower Steam or who knows what would have happened.
Penny’s relieved parents did not press charges on the condition that Warwick and Milton were examined by a child psychiatrist.
Dr. Rogers carried out a very thorough assessment, including ink blots and word association. Although he took the view that both twins were "border-line psychopathic", Mrs. Hilton was confident that it was "just a phase" and that her boys would "grow out of it".
Sadly, before Dr Rogers could confirm his diagnosis in writing, he was involved in a fatal collision on the motorway. The police investigation showed this was caused by the cutting of a brake cable in his estate car by person or persons unknown.
Bunty Pargeter had mixed feelings regarding the twins. She did worry about the disappearance of Patsy Pottle’s little chihuahua so soon after the twins received airguns for their birthday, but the full livery she received for Reggie and Ronnie came in so handy.